1) The Executive Order issued by the President of the United States on 27 January, which prevents nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, all predominantly Muslim countries, from entering the US.
One of the principal roles of the International Association of Egyptologists is to bring together all those throughout the world who are involved in the study of Egypt’s past, and protection of its sites and monuments. The Association aims to provide a forum in which colleagues can discuss pressing issues, exchange ideas, create collaborations, and share expertise and resources.
The Association is explicitly international and inclusive in its outlook and activities. The success of its endeavours depends on the free flow of people and information. The Unites States is one of the most important countries for Egyptology: many specialists are based there, many thousands of uniquely important ancient artefacts are kept in its museum collections, and the exhibitions, films, and books that are created there inspire many millions around the world to engage with the past. No two ancient Egyptian objects, among all the millions scattered around the world are the same; and every specialist, regardless of their nationality or where in the world they are based, brings something unique to our discipline. Our subject thrives on the connections made between such people.
An indiscriminate ban preventing anyone from the countries specified from entering the US, and potentially resulting in discrimination against individuals who have worked or lived in those countries, threatens such connections from being made.
As such, the International Association of Egyptologists opposes the Executive Order in the strongest possible terms, and calls for its immediate rescindment.
2) The proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and to reduce support for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Egyptology, along with the many other sub-disciplines of history and archaeology, plays a vital role in enhancing our understanding of a shared history that is common to all people. Our subject enjoys enormous popularity among the public, not least because it is so alive – specialists continue to improve our understanding of people’s lives in the ancient past through the discovery of new material in Egypt itself, and by applying great expertise and new techniques to interpreting that material. Moreover, ancient Egypt is considered by many as one of the roots of modern culture. The study of ancient Egypt is, therefore, a key to understanding who we ourselves are, and where we come from. Many of the great advances in our subject have been made by scholars in the United States, from the earliest days of scientific inquiry into Egypt’s history up to the present. The continuation of this work depends on financial support, much of which up to now has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Any reduction in the support the US government provides to these funds threatens the vital, ongoing work of Egyptologists in the US, which would have a significant impact on the progress of Egyptology worldwide.
As such, the International Association of Egyptologists opposes the proposed reduction in Support for these funds in the strongest possible terms.